Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review : The year of the money-hemorrhaging foot

I finished out 2014 with 2 runs (unintentionally).  I've been in a bit of a running-rut for the last week or two.  I've been running 4-5 days a week, but my heart hasn't been in it.  I've been going out the door and putting one foot in front of the other for about 4.5 miles and then returning home and maybe remembering to stretch.  Today, I was in the mood to run.  I was going to actually run, instead of jog like I have been.  I headed out the door and started up my usual starting hill.  And then I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to use my inhaler.  But I felt strong.  I wondered if I could complete my whole run without the inhaler.  Thankfully, I decided against that.  As I looped back home, breathing got harder and harder.  It was pretty rough by the time I reached my door.  I dashed the stairs, used the inhaler, and headed back out to try again.  Take 2 went better.  My lungs didn't fully recover from Take 1, so I wasn't able to run quite as fast as I had envisioned, but I was happy to be running, and that was all that mattered.

2014 in Review

2014 in running didn't quite turn out the way I had planned a year ago. But looking back, it has still been a great year.  Maybe I didn't run a record number of races, or a race every month.  Maybe I didn't officially achieve a half marathon PR.  I didn't even get close to running 1000 miles this year, making it the first year since 2008 or 2009 that I didn't run over 1000 miles.  Maybe I took 10.5 solid weeks off from running, plus a lot of other time off before I had to get serious and quit for real.

But I did run about 690 miles.  And I did run 6 successful half marathons, 3 with foot pain, and 3 after my long time off.  And I did bike 2291 miles, that included over 158,000 ft of elevation gain.  And I did have an amazing year in so many ways that had nothing to do with running.  2014 was possibly the happiest year of my adult life.

2014 wasn't perfect, what year ever is?  But after a few rough years, I learned so much about myself, and about how to deal with life's punches, and it has made such a difference in my life.  I no longer let myself get completely stressed out or depressed over things that go wrong (most of the time).  Some things just aren't worth that kind of energy.  Being able to tell the difference is such a powerful tool.

2014 was also a great year for my photography.  I registered GMcD Photography as an LLC, and while it is not much of a money-maker for me, it does bring in money occasionally, and has given me some amazing opportunities.  I can't wait to see where photography takes me in 2015.

I don't know where 2015 will take me in running.  I don't think I am going to schedule any races during this winter.  I might just take some time to run for fun without any thoughts towards race/distance training.  I expect to run local races in March and April, and of course I plan on running the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in late April.  I haven't made any plans beyond that, and for once, I am ok with that.

Happy New Year!

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c whole wheat flour
2.5 c white flour
2 tsp cinnamon

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add vanilla and egg, mix well.  Add baking powder and whole wheat flour, mix well.  Add the cinnamon and the rest of the flour a little bit at a time.  Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick.  (No chilling necessary) Cut out the cookies and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Dip some of the cookies in dark chocolate, if desired.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Six runs and a craft project

I ran SIX times this week.  That is a first since...sometime long before I took the whole summer off.  Those six runs occurred on 5 days, not six, and it's not the first time I've run 5 days, but I've been averaging only 3 days a week for awhile, and feeling like I need to get back to a consistent 5 or 6, so I'm happy with it..  It's been hard to get back into the running routine.  Not because I don't like running, but just because it's not routine anymore.  Running used to be that thing I did as soon as I finished work everyday.  And now it's not.  Sometimes I work later because I don't feel like I need to run.  Sometimes I get home and decide I would rather cook dinner or just be lazy.  Running used to always be more important to me than staying late at work or than cooking dinner.

I don't see it as a bad thing that I am no longer obsessed with running every day.  But I also don't want to be exercising only 3 times a week.  I am trying to find the balance between running frequently and not letting it become as obsessive as it used to be.

Last night's run was a last minute decision.  I felt the need to get off the couch and clear my head, and I had no good reason not to run, so I did it.  It was a nice way to see everybody's Christmas lights.

I thought about taking today off, but decided to run with a friend instead.  I might take tomorrow off...I have a feeling that 3 runs in 24 hours will leave me needing some recovery time.

This week:
T: 4.3
R: 5.6
F: 4.5
Sa : 4.5, 4.5
Su : 3.3 w/DD
total : 26.8 miles

In other news, I spent most of Saturday doing craft projects, which was fun.  I don't do that too often anymore.  I was browsing the craft section at Walmart early in the morning, and discovered "melty beads."  I rather un-original name for their knock-off  Perler Beads.  Perler beads were a fun craft from my childhood so I decided to buy the "melty beads" and have some fun.  I made some things for my faculty secret santa gift exchange, and I made some ornaments for my tree.  

I made a few snowflakes, and of course some runner-girls...
Because I can't make ornaments and not have them be running-themed.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Silly asthma getting in the way of my fun

That last half marathon I did in the cold air was not kind to my lungs.  When I tried to race again 5 days later on Thanksgiving, they failed me.  I killed the first mile in about 6 minutes, and then my lungs locked up and I couldn't really breathe.  I tried to fight it for another mile or so, then I gave up and jogged the rest of the 5 mile race.  On the bright side, apparently I can maintain a sub 8 min/mile pace even when I'm having an asthma attack.  So that's nice.

Also, it was really nice to go to a race with both my brothers and one of my sisters!  We didn't take a group photo, but hopefully next year we will get to race together again.

After the Thanksgiving race, I had to take it easy for a bit to let my lungs recover.  I went for a jog three days after the race, and could tell that my lungs weren't ready for anything faster than a jog.  I took a few more days off and ran on Wednesday.  I did less than 4 miles, but my lungs felt much better.  Then I took a few more days off because the weather was crappy and I didn't feel like dealing with it.  I ran 6 miles on Saturday and it felt really good.

Today it was 50 degrees so I got the bright idea to go for a bike ride because it was "warm."  Turns out 50 degrees on a bike feels more like 20.  I knew it would be colder, but not that much colder!  Lesson learned.  If I want to bike again before June I will need to buy some biking gloves.  Other than the frozen fingers, the ride was really good though.